Johnson: 'I will look into an apprenticeship guarantee'

The government would do 'absolutely everything' it can to get people back into jobs following the coronavirus pandemic, said Boris Johnson
27th May 2020, 5:49pm

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Johnson: 'I will look into an apprenticeship guarantee'

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/johnson-i-will-look-apprenticeship-guarantee
The Prime Minister Has Said He Will Look At A Guarantee For Apprentices

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said he will look into an apprenticeship guarantee for all young learners to help tackle the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

This comes only days after a group of experts, including the Association of Colleges and the Learning and Work Institute, called for guaranteed support for young people leaving education this year. 

Asked by Robert Halfon MP in today's Commons Liaison Committee if he would consider introducing an apprenticeship guarantee for every young person aged 16-25, the prime minister said he "totally agreed" that apprenticeships would play a "huge part in getting people back on to the jobs market and getting them into work and we will look at anything to help people".


More: Youth unemployment could rise by 600,000

News: Government must invest billions to tackle unemployment

Background: Experts to tackle post-coronavirus youth employment


'Great opportunities'

"We will be doing absolutely everything we can to get people back into jobs and I will look at the idea of an apprenticeship guarantee. It's something that we would have to work with employers to deliver and we would have to think of the funding for that."

Boris Johnson said the government had done "some pretty astonishing and creative things with helping businesses in the last month and that's the kind of thing we can well consider", adding: "We are going to need to take exceptional steps in taking our young people into work."

Later in the same session, MP Stephen Timms, chair of the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee, pointed towards the future jobs fund that supported young people into work after the 2008 recession. He asked if the prime minister agreed that "pretty radical measures" would be needed to tackle unemployment among young people. 

Mr Johnson said: "That's why Rob's [Mr Halfon] idea of the apprenticeship guarantee is so attractive, because what we have done is put our arms around every worker and helped them keep their their job but businesses may need support in the coming months as they get back on their feet in taking people on and we will need to think about how to help them. 

"At the same time, let's face it, this country does have a skills deficit, we do have a productivity gap still and this might be the moment when we really start to try to tackle that and use this crisis to address some of these issues.

"I can assure you the chancellor and I and everyone are looking at this stuff every closely and wanting to come forward June, early July with much about how we get employment again and get the economy started." 

A report from the Resolution Foundation warned that youth unemployment could rise by 600,000 this year because of the coronavirus crisis. According to the report, young people's prospects could be "scarred" for years, with long-term damage done to their pay and job prospects.

Earlier this month, a group of experts called for everyone leaving education this year to be guaranteed support to find work or a place in education or training. That, the group said, should include intensive employment support for all unemployed young people, underpinned by a £1 billion Jobs Guarantee for those out of work for the longest. The group was made up of former government advisers, labour market experts, research institutes, think tanks and organisations including the Association of Colleges, the Learning and Work Institute and the Institute for Employment Studies. 

On 6 May, the Association of Colleges called on the Department for Education to guarantee access to high-quality education or training for every young person in September - a scheme they called the "September Promise". 

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